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The cause of folliculitis is most often the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. In certain cases, the folliculitis cause may not be bacteria, but Pityrosporum ovale yeast (causing pityrosporum folliculitis), or fungus (causing fungal folliculitis). Fungal folliculitis is contagious, and should be treated quickly.
When hair follicles are aggravated, the sensitive area becomes even more prone to infection. Follicles may become irritated through shaving, perspiration or wearing tight clothing that rubs against the skin. Makeup and oils can block follicles and cause irritation—sometimes leading to hair follicle infection.
Abrasions and physical injury to the skin also result in damage to the hair follicles. This puts the area at risk for infection and is often one of the underlying causes of folliculitis.
This condition occurs more often in people with weakened immune systems, most often those with diabetes and obesity.
Exposure to swimming pools or hot tubs that have not been properly treated with chlorine may lead to hot tub folliculitis, and should be avoided completely, in order to prevent folliculitis infections.
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